What examples are there of the destructive nature of love in The Great Gatsby?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that an argument can be made that Gatsby's love of his conception of "the American Dream" is fairly destructive.  Gatsby's love of wealth and what it means to be "Gatsby" does not bring any sort of permanent happiness.  It also can be seen as the root of his own death, as his own pursuit of this dream causes him to be easily manipulated into being mistaken for Tom by George.  Along these lines, I think that the supposed notion of love that Gatsby has for Daisy is destructive.  It might be a stretch to call this love, but Gatsby believes it to be.  This is destructive because it is one sided, and never reciprocated.  Gatsby's pursuit of Daisy is both limitless and fruitless, which ends up being a pretty potent combination to spell out his own destruction.  Again, stretching, but the lustful relationship between Myrtle and Tom leads to destruction on many ends.  Myrtle's own relationship with her husband, as well as the self- serving nature of the association ends up becoming quite destructive as the novel progresses.  Such perversions of love, wrought with inauthenticity at its best and personal destruction at its worst help to motivate Nick to return to the Midwest.

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The Great Gatsby

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